I'm 32 and I've been working as the Commercial Co-ordinator at a heavy haulage and logistics company for 8 years. Being completely honest, until I was 27 I treated work as something that was just to pay the bills, often made mistakes and didn't take it seriously, but then about 5 years, when the old Managing Director left and the office environment improved a lot, I decided to knuckle down, save money for a house and become an adult. It went well, and I got substantial pay rises and great reviews every year for the last 3 years.
Business was picking up so much 3 years ago that I couldn't handle the volume of enquiries, and it was decided that somebody would be hired at the same level to assist me, and I would train him up. He's 24 now, so he was 21 when he first started. He's a good guy and picks up new things easily, but last year he decided he wanted more money and responsibility, the company wouldn't give it to him, and he handed his notice in. Just as he was about to leave our Managing Director went to a competitor, so to avoid the problem of losing so many staff in one go they gave him a pay rise and allowed him to become more focused on business development and visiting customers, so he agreed to stay. At the same time the old Commercial Manager (who at that point was responsible for doing all of the customer visits) became the new Office Manager (the role of Managing Director being scrapped after the MD left and the company's shares were centralised through our head office).
I noticed a few months ago that the younger guy who I trained up was becoming increasingly forthright in his views and explaining the way that he felt things should be done. We didn't always agree, but it was never unfriendly. He was also taking on a lot more responsibilities which the new Office Manager had been doing.
I had my monthly one-to-one with the Office Manager after some gossip in the office got back to me about how it was clear that he was being trained up to be the new Commercial Manager. I explained how in my annual one-to-one a couple of years before that I had been told by the managers at the time that I was clearly the senior person with most of the knowledge in the Commercial Department, and to carry on doing what I was doing and within a couple of years I would have a senior role, and that I would also be going out to deal with more customers face-to-face, especially with regard to projects. He wasn't aware of this, but again said just to carry on what I was doing and think about how I wanted to sell myself in the annual one-to-one with the Managing Director from head office.
I went through everything I wanted to say: I speak 5 languages, have brought in the most work, including some huge projects for the company; I help everyone in the office whenever they can't understand something (language- or procedure-related), I've trained two people up and the department has expanded massively, and that I feel we work really well as a team. Sadly, I was then shot down and told that they'd decided that James, as the person who visits customers, should have the management title as it's better for the customer to believe the person who is coming in to visit them is high-ranking, and the structure of the company is to give the title Commercial Manager to whoever is basically the rep / business development guy. My suggestion was that I become Commercial Manager, the younger guy becomes Sales Manager or Sales Representative, and everybody is happy. They decided that this idea was not for them.
So to the crux: I feel like I've been strung along and promised things which have now been given to somebody else, who is much younger than me and who I trained, and who in a lot of respects I see as being junior to me. I'm struggling to remain objective, but I'm just about managing it. I find it very galling, though, that I've been there 8 years and the main reason I've stayed for the past 2 years was that I felt like I was working towards something and achieving something, and really going places, and now it just feels like I've wasted those 2 years and should have gone somewhere else, or moved somewhere further afield or prosperous and with more opportunities. It's also annoying that the younger guy resigned for more money and responsibilities last year, which I would imagine to show a lack of company loyalty to the Managing Director, but he's got the promotion, whereas I've never resigned or threatened to resign and I got passed over.
I'm thinking my last ditch effort might be to politely mention my frustrations after everything which I felt that I was promised, and to ask for clear reasons why I wasn't chosen for the promotion, along with clear instructions of what I need to do to be at least at the same level as my former peer, and a clear timeline of when this will be happening if I do everything which they ask of me. Then, if they won't give me any guarantees or if I feel like they're stringing me along, to hit the job market hard and to find something suitable. Is this a good idea? I don't want to spend another 8 years with the same job title as I had when I was 24, sat behind a desk everyday and going through the same motions. Have I already been too soft and not been aggressive enough with regard to demanding what I want? From everything I've seen, it appears that these guys are the only ones who get anywhere, and that loyalty does not really amount to much. Basically does it sound like I'm at the point where I either need to leave or become a bitter and jaded employee who doesn't go anywhere within the company?